“This song is about the cynical manipulation of large numbers of people. It does happen. “– Sting, The Police, September 1983
What is a “cult?”
In modern English, a cult is a social group that is defined by its unusual religious, spiritual, or philosophical beliefs, or by its common interest in a particular personality, object, or goal. This sense of the term is controversial, having divergent definitions both in popular culture and academia, and has also been an ongoing source of contention among scholars across several fields of study. The word “cult” is usually considered pejorative.
This is a pretty broad definition, and doesn’t really work for our needs. However, we can see the definition of the term changing over time:
“While the literal and original sense of the word remains in use in the English language, a derived sense of “excessive devotion” arose in the 19th century.”
“Excessive devotion” is more in line with our modern usage, but it’s important to note that:
“Since the 1940s the Christian countercult movement has opposed some sects and new religious movements, labeling them “cults” because of their unorthodox beliefs.”
Indeed, so-called “Mainline Protestants” in the United States have often labeled any of their competitors as “cults.” This became a political issue in the 2012 Presidential elections, when Mitt Romney’s Mormonism became a minor issue. The Wall Street Journal wrote a fascinating article quoting a well known Southern Baptist, who had to handle this situation with delicate hands. No Southern Baptist could accept Mormonism as “Christianity,” but their traditional use of the term “cult” was not a pejorative he wanted to apply to a candidate he supported.
So, he declared it “one of the four Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Mormonism.” The author of the Journal article noted the delicate cleverness here, and asked “was that a promotion, or a demotion?”
But clearly that is not the meaning of “cult” we are interested here. Instead, this is closer to what we mean:
Since the 1970s, the secular anti-cult movement has opposed certain groups, and in reaction to acts of violence which have been committed by some of their members, it has frequently charged them with practicing mind control.
When people think “cult” they think, Scientology and “brainwashing.” Indeed, “mind control.”
It’s probably significant that, “beginning in the 1930s, cults became the object of sociological study.” A sociologist named Howard Becker popularized the modern use of the term, and authored a study that very likely came to the attention of the crowd that would come to make up the Office of Strategic Services and later, the Central Intelligence Agency. This would have been in the context of another discpline that the CIA would come to leverage for its purposes, anthropology, especially the work of Gregory Bateson.
Anthropologists also got into the MK-ULTRA act. Richard Prince was given CIA money for research on “folk medicine and faith healing” among the Yoruba people in Nigeria. Gottlieb was interested in finding possible new drugs in Nigeria and in the mind-control techniques of Yoruba shamans. Margaret Mead sat with Ewen Cameron on the editorial board of a CIA-funded publication called the Research in Mental Health Newsletter, which discussed the use of psychedelic drugs to induce and treat schizophrenia.
Mead’s former husband, medical anthropologist Gregory Bateson, was given CIA-procured LSD by Harold Abramson. Bateson, in turn, gave some to his friend, the beat poet Allen Ginsberg. It was also Bateson’s stash of LSD that eventually found its way to experiments being conducted on student volunteers by Dr. Leo Hollister. One of his subjects was a young creative writing student at Stanford, Ken Kesey, who would become the drug’s chief proponent in the sixties counterculture.
To put the very loaded term “mind control” into context, it’s helpful to understand the intellectual milieu of the time. In 1928, “a pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda,” Edward Bernays, wrote a very influential book titled Propaganda.
Propaganda explored the psychology behind manipulating masses and the ability to use symbolic action and propaganda to influence politics, effect social change, and lobby for gender and racial equality.
It was also this time period, the 1920’s, that mass electronic media, in the form of radio, became popular, and by the end of the decade the majority of American households owned at least one radio receiver. Every American schoolboy is taught that Franklin Roosevelt’s radio “fireside chats” were a major reason why he won an unprecedented four terms. Indeed, the phrase, “it seemed the President was sitting next to you in your living room,” or similar, is a part of every discussion about the FDR administration.
Bernay’s Propaganda is pivotal because of how he saw “democracy.” The exoteric meaning of “democracy” is that “the people” decide government policy, via representatives they choose. But the esoteric meaning of “democracy” is how Bernay used the term: the actual ruling class would “manufacture consent” among the population via propaganda.
“The people” do not decide public policy, neither directly nor via their representatives. Instead, factions of the ruling class would tell the population what to think, then “the people” would ratify ruling class policy by voting the way they were told. If the population was not convinced and voted “the wrong way” that was seen as a technical failure of “propaganda.”
This understanding was mainstream among ruling class circles during this time period.
Immediately following World War II, as the war time Office of Strategic Services morphed into the peace time Central Intelligence Agency, a wave of what are now labeled “abusive cults” became popular in America. Perhaps one of the first and most infamous was Scientology, originally known as Dianetics.
Scientology is known particularly to recruit members among Hollywood actors, and the two most famous Scientologists are Hollywood actors Tom Cruise, and John Travolta. In 2006, a fascinating article appeared in the Wall Street Journal about a conflict between Tom Cruise, then perhaps the biggest leading man in Hollywood, and Sumner Redstone, perhaps the leading producer in Hollywood.
In an unusually public rebuke, Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone said that his company’s movie studio, Paramount Pictures, plans to end its 14-year relationship with the 44-year-old Mr. Cruise and his film-production company. In an interview, Mr. Redstone, who is 83, was clear about the reason: Mr. Cruise’s public antics and incessant stumping for personal causes, notably Scientology, have become intolerable and have been a drag on ticket sales for films like “Mission: Impossible III.”
“It’s nothing to do with his acting ability, he’s a terrific actor,” said Mr. Redstone. “But we don’t think that someone who effectuates creative suicide and costs the company revenue should be on the lot.”
It is also worth noting that following this public breakup between two Hollywood titans, the Church of Scientology suffered perhaps its worst – and likely fatal – public relations hit via Project Chanology.
Project Chanology was formulated by users of the English-speaking imageboards 711chan.org and 4chan, the associated partyvan.info wiki, and several Internet Relay Chat channels, all part of a group collectively known as Anonymous, on January 16, 2008 after the Church of Scientology issued a copyright violation claim against YouTube for hosting material from the Cruise video.
Please note the context here, the “Chan” imageboards which would give rise to the so called “Alternative Right” subculture.
Project Chanology was supposedly organized by a “collective” called “Anonymous.”
Anonymous is a decentralized international activist/hacktivist collective/movement widely known for its various cyber attacks against several governments, government institutions and government agencies, corporations, and the Church of Scientology. Anonymous originated in 2003 on the imageboard 4chan.
For the first couple of years “Anonymous” was known for online pranks against various social media websites. But the Wikipedia timeline shows that the first “serious” action of the “Anonymous” collective was, in fact, a “raid” or “hack” of the website of a man by the name of Hal Turner.
Turner stated that in December 2006 and January 2007 individuals who identified themselves as members of the group Anonymous took Turner’s website offline, costing him thousands of dollars in bandwidth bills. On January 19, 2007 Turner sued 4chan, eBaum’s World, 7chan, Abjects IRC network, and other websites for copyright infringement. On January 22, 2007 he lost his plea for an injunction. In February 2007 4chan responded to the lawsuit. In April 2007, the judge asked the parties to submit information to schedule proceedings. However, Turner failed to respond. Mail from the court to Turner was returned as “Undeliverable”. The judge dismissed the case in December 2007.
Immediately following this “raid” Hal Turner was exposed as a long time “informant” for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Turner was a paid informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for several years, supplying information about right-wing groups to federal agents. The original allegations that Turner acted as an informant for the FBI surfaced in 2008 after unidentified hackers claimed on Turner’s website’s forums that they had read email correspondences between him and an FBI agent, apparently his handler. This led to a discussion on a neo-Nazi website on January 10, 2008, in which Turner revealed that he was quitting political work, ending his radio show and separating “from the ‘pro-White’ movement”. The FBI has declined to comment on the matter.
The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League reported on the emails that “a neo-Nazi Website had posted material reportedly found by the hackers, including alleged exchanges between himself and law enforcement agents which indicated that Turner had been providing information to them.” Michael A. Orozco, Turner’s lawyer said, “I don’t think he was a racist. He was doing a lot of those things at the behest of the FBI.
At this point one is tempted to make a quip about offering the readership a good price on Florida real estate, or perhaps an overpass connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn.
As this author’s style is all about offering possibly true salacious personal tidbits, let’s just say that a friend of a friend is absolutely convinced that Tom Cruise is gay.
Wait – that is not quite true. What this friend told me was that her friend, who was gay, witnessed Tom Cruise at well known gay hot spots early in his career, in the company of some “Hollywood bigwigs” that were known, or suspected, to be gay.
To put that in context, let’s relate another tidbit about the second most famous Scientologist, John Travolta.
“[John Travolta] began screaming at Plaintiff, telling Plaintiff how selfish he was; that Defendant got to where he is now due to sexual favors he had performed when he was in his Welcome Back, Kotter days; and that Hollywood is controlled by homosexual Jewish men who expect favors in return for sexual activity. Defendant then went on to say how he had done things in his past that would make most people throw up.“
As personality types were discussed earlier, consider what “type” of person would seek a career in acting, or the theater? What would these people have in common? Surely, to say “homosexuality” would be not just inaccurate but to even miss the significance, so would “bisexuality.” John Travolta married a woman and had three children with her and has a reputation as a womanizer. Tom Cruise has been married three times and has three children.
Is it possible that “the intelligence community” – or more specifically, the Central Intelligence Agency, have some interest in a certain “personality type” that Travolta and Cruise might share?
What is this bizarre “cult,” Scientology, really all about?
What is the actual nature of the “hacker collective” called “Anonymous” and how is it that a couple of fringe websites, the Chans, have such a history of close connections to what can only be described as “domestic and foreign intelligence operations?”
And, perhaps more to the point, is it really believable that one of the most important media moguls in America, Sumner Redstone, would break with one of his most lucrative actors due to some bad publicity?
What is the nature of a “cult?” What “personality type” would those attracted to cults share?
And what would intelligence agencies, specifically, the Central Intelligence Agency, have an interest in these “cults” – and what can we understand about the nature of a seemingly conflict between various powerful groups, one of which is clearly headed by people who are “Jewish,” virtually all of them Zionists, many of them major American supporters of a otherwise insignificant foreign state half way around the world?
The answer may surprise you, but it’s also kind of all obvious, isn’t it? Once you see it …
The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence is a 1974 controversial non-fiction political book written by Victor Marchetti, a former special assistant to the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and John D. Marks, a former officer of the United States Department of State. It is the first book the federal government of the United States ever went to court to censor before its publication.
The CIA demanded the authors delete 339 passages but they resisted and in the end only 168 passages were deleted. The book was a critically acclaimed bestseller whose publication contributed to the establishment of the Church Committee, a United States Senate select committee to study governmental operations with respect to intelligence activities, in 1975.
Speaking of the Church Committee, the Director of Central Intelligence who was called to testify, William Colby, is the one with the hobby of taking midnight canoe rides in the Potomac river, and bizarrely looks freakishly like my grandfather.
Colby’s testimony prompted one of the “founders” of the Central Intelligence Agency, and one time CIA station chief in Lebanon, to make these absolutely fascinating remarks in an interview from the early 1980’s.
Robert Eringer: Who gets your highest marks as CIA director?
Miles Copeland: I’d have to name two people, and for totally different reasons. I think George Bush was the best. He came in knowing he didn’t know a damn thing about the CIA, but he did know how to judge people whose opinions he could trust, and he listened to them.
Robert Eringer: Who is second?
Miles Copeland: Dick Helms. Helms lied to a congressional committee. That’s one of his fortunate traits, that he’s willing to lie to a congressional committee. William Colby didn’t have the guts to do this. Lacking patriotism, he did not lie to a committee.
Here is an interesting question. What if the CIA is, itself, a kind of abusive cult?
And what if it has an astonishingly complex relationship with another abusive cult? And that many of the events leading up to 9/11, and during the cover up during the last 20 years, are a result of that complex relationship?
I sure hope my blog – and me – last long enough to figure this out and let you know. Remember, my readers are a cut above average so inspire me to do my best.